Social Investors Launch Campaign to Halt Proposed Changes to Proxy Access Rules
According to Portfolio.com, "Socially concerned investors groups say they won't stand by and see Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox crimp their right to demand company accountability on important issues like the business risks of climate change. The Social Investment Forum, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and others, unveiled a new web site to attract 500 institutions and financial professionals to sign a joint statement against proposed S.E.C. changes."
As we noted earlier,
"Those most directly impacted by the policy change are large in number but divided and unorganized. These include shareholder groups like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, labor-related funds, faith-based pension funds, 'socially responsible' mutual funds, and individual stockholders...these groups have been unable to mount the type of strategic, sustained effort, or bring forward the new ideas and analysis required to prevent the imposition of a more restrictive shareholder access policy."
This effort is an attempt to even the field. We are not sure it will work, but time will tell.
President of Standard and Poors Steps Down
Terror Free Investment Product
To divest their money from terror-sponsoring nations got another push Wednesday with a new plan aimed at making college savings investments "terror-free."
Last year, Missouri became the first state to order its employee pension funds to dump shares of companies that deal with Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, all of which are on the U.S. State Department's list of terror-sponsoring nations."As we noted, we think the SEC was on the right track when it posted online tools to assist in this process. See: http://twisri.blogspot.com/2007/07/sec-backs-off.html
SEC News and Enforcement Actions
On August 23, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission "filed an emergency action to shut down a $25 million Ponzi scheme that victimized hundreds of senior and other investors nationwide who bought fractional ownership interests in life insurance policies. The Commission alleges that Donald Neuhaus of Redding, Calif., his daughter Kimberley Snowden, and their company Secure Investment Services, Inc., orchestrated the Ponzi scheme that falsely promised safe, secure and profitable interests in life insurance policies known as "viaticals" while failing to disclose the dire financial condition of the investment venture. Many of the investors were elderly and invested their retirement savings. The Commission also alleges the father-daughter fraudsters pocketed $700,000 for their personal use while the scam was on the verge of collapse."
On August 28, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced "fraud charges against a Bay Area attorney for her role in illegally backdating stock option grants. The Commission charged Lisa C. Berry with routinely backdating option grants from 1997 to 2003, first as General Counsel of KLA-Tencor Corporation and then as General Counsel of Juniper Networks, Inc. The Commission alleges that Berry's misconduct caused the two companies to conceal hundreds of millions of dollars in stock option compensation expenses relating to undisclosed in-the-money options provided to company executives and employees. "
Also on August 28, 2007, The Commission "filed a settled enforcement action against Juniper, an information technology company based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Juniper has consented to a permanent injunction against violations of the antifraud and other provisions of the federal securities laws. KLA, a San Jose-based semiconductor equipment company, previously settled charges brought by the Commission"
The Diversity Portfolio
Angels Descend on Minority Business Enterprises
Investors gather to consider investments in top minority-owned ventures.
Virginia Housing and Community Development Corporation (VHCDC) continues its pioneering initiatives to facilitate the flow of capital to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with the announcement of the 2007 MBE Capital Call Conference, Exhibition, and Venture Forum -- September 20 & 21 in Hampton, Virginia. The MBE Capital Call presents entrepreneurs with innovative and marketable business ideas the opportunity to secure capital, and other essential resources, by "Pitching" their business plans to active, accredited investors. This event invites Entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, Investors, aspiring investors, and College/University Students to Hampton, Virginia for a rewarding two day conference aimed at facilitating investment in minority- and women-owned businesses.
VHCDC created the MBE Capital Call to expose and connect MBEs, particularly African-American, Hispanic, and Native American entrepreneurs, to capital (funding) to start and grow or expand their business. This year, twenty-one (21) entrepreneurs will be selected to pitch their business plans to active, accredited investors. A team of active investors and business development professionals will select the presenters from among registrations received thru August 10, 2007. Presenters will be judged on several criteria and may pitch plans for virtually any industry/business sector.
Registration is easy, and there's no additional cost to enter the competition. Business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, investors, lenders, and students may register by visiting the MBE Capital Call website: www.mbecapitalcall.com now for complete details, registration, and terms and conditions.